Canadian solo sailor first person ever to take part in ‘Movember’ from middle of ocean

DEREK HATFIELD SHAVES OFF ICONIC MOUSTACHE TO MARK EQUATOR CROSSINGCANDIAN ocean racer Derek Hatfield made a special offering to Neptune as he passed the Equator yesterday – by shaving off his iconic moustache. The 57-year-old has crossed the Equator many times and has always honoured the tradition among sailors of performing a ritual to appease King Neptune, ancient god of the seas.

But as he entered the Southern Hemisphere halfway through the first sprint of the VELUX 5 OCEANS from La Rochelle to Cape Town, Derek decided to go one step further than the usual offerings of alcohol and food.  As he passed the Equator, Derek put razor to his face and shaved off his bushy 38-year-old moustache, partly as his offering, and partly to raise awareness of the dangers of prostate cancer.

Despite being miles out to sea alone in the Atlantic, devoid of energy and totally sleep-deprived, Derek decided to take part in the worldwide charity movement Movember, whereby men all round the world grow their moustaches for the month of November to raise awareness and funds for The Prostate Cancer Charity. Derek has had a moustache since he was a rookie in the Canadian mounties when he 20, so he decided to do the complete opposite and shave his moustache off. It is thought that Derek is the first person ever in the event’s eight-year-history to take part from the middle of an ocean.

“Sailors do funny things when they cross the equator, to attain for all their past sailing digressions, they must ask Neptune for a pass,” Derek explained. “This is not my first time across so I thought I would do something a bit different. November is now Movember and all men are asked to grow a moustache to bring awareness to prostate and testicular cancer.DEREK HATFIELD SHAVES OFF ICONIC MOUSTACHE TO MARK EQUATOR CROSSING 

"But you might say, but you already have a moustache. Yes, I started growing this moustache as a young policeman at age twenty. So, when I crossed the equator I shaved off my moustache that I have had for 38 years and have started a new one. My 38-year-old moustache took only seconds to disappear. It has left my upper lip a little exposed to the sun but it definitely is cooler!”

Derek was the third of the VELUX 5 OCEANS skippers to head south across the Equator, following race leader Brad Van Liew and second-placed Zbigniew Gutkowski. He still has more than 3,000 nautical miles to go before he reaches Cape Town and the finish line of the first of five gruelling ocean sprints.